The Blood of Jesus (1941) is a classic example of the "race film" genre of films by African-American directors and casts, geared exclusively for an African-American audience. This film, written and directed by Spencer William Jr. of the TV show Amos & Andy Show (who also played Razz Williams in the film), is a morality tale about a woman (Cathryn Caviness) who is accidentally shot to death by her husband. Facing death, she must choose between Hell, represented as urban life, and Zion, represented as pastoral America, and between Satan and God. The climax comes when she makes her decision at the foot of the cross and wakes up to singing of her church choir. Intended to promote a Black Southern Baptist ideal of a virtuous rural life, the film was a major success and the most popular hit in its genre.
There's a lot of things wrong with this film, but it is enjoyable despite that.
March 17, 2006 Subject:
The Blood of Jesus
One must look past the genre and the age of the film.
The film tells us that there is a Heaven to be won and a Hell to shun. In these last days of Hurrcanes destroying cities, floods and Tsunamis, Iranian threats of nuclear war, mideast terrorism, impending bird flu, mad cow disease, the 911 trajedy, rampant homosexuality, murder in every city, immorality, aids and STD's, devil worship, famines in many parts of the world, wars and rumors of wars (see Matthew 24) ... it tells us that Jesus Christ is coming first to Rapture his true believers and then the Great Tribulation of seven years of unimaginable devastation ending in the Battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ to save mankind and the Jewish People. We ARE IN those last days and this film brings to mind the decision everyone will have to make ... whether to be born again and be saved, or whether to reject Christ and face an eternity in Hell/Lake of Fire. After viewing the film I was so glad I was saved and it renewed my faith in Jesus and my love for Him. He is coming in the Rapture very soon. The film is fantastic and everyone who has watched it will be accountable to God .
God bless you all.
Reviewer:Christine Hennig -
September 3, 2005 Subject:
The Devil and Martha Ann Jackson
This religious all-black cast film from the 40s tells the story of Martha Ann Jackson, a young married woman with a no-good husband. Soon after she gets saved and baptized, she is fatally injured in an accident with her husbandÃÂs hunting rifle. Her soul is taken away by an angel, but at the last minute, God decides itÃÂs not her time yet and lets her go back to the land of the living. There the devil sends his envoy, Judas Green, to lure her to the big city with fancy clothes. There, she goes nightclubbing and a friend of JudasÃÂ offers her a ÃÂjob,ÃÂ but once she finds out what the ÃÂjobÃÂ involves, she runs off to return to the straight and narrow path. Unfortunately, she is mistaken for another female ÃÂemployeeÃÂ whoÃÂs a pickpocket, resulting in many of the nightclubÃÂs patrons taking off after her. At the point between Zion and Hell, she is confronted by the devil, but fortunately, having been saved, she has Jesus on her side, who not only repels the devil, but the angry nightclub patrons as well. Like most all-black cast films IÃÂve seen, this film is a confusing mix of authenticity and stereotypes. Ultimately, though, the sincerity of it won me over, enough to even make up for some of the aspects that bothered me, such as holding up the rural life as an ideal despite the fact that for most African-Americans at the time it was a life of grinding poverty. ItÃÂs obvious that a lot of care went into this, and that the occasional amateurish moments are more artifacts of an extremely low budget than of incompetence or lack of vision. And the music is great, both the gospel music of Zion and the jazz and blues of Hell.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
August 20, 2005 Subject:
Old Black Spiritual
I really enjoyed this piece of media. The black spiritual aspects of it really gave me a solemn reflective sense. Sometimes there just isn't anything better than a black spiritual to make you think about the Love of the Lord.
May 27, 2005 Subject:
A remarkable treasure
A great film by a great entertainer. The producers of this film exhibit tremendous skill and insight in making a film that says so much, so well. Dry humor, subtle sight gags and a solid script. Above average print and sound condition.